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tv   Newsline  NHK World  July 17, 2014 2:00am-2:31am JST

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workers at the plant are hurrying to finish all upgrades. they have built 10 meter high walls to protect equipment from tsunami break water and they installed pipes that can withstand tremors. >> translator: we will complete the task quickly so the plant's operations can be resumed as soon as possible. >> reporter: the nra approved the upgraded design and safety
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features of the sendai plant at the wednesday meeting. the decision was welcomed by the government. >> translator: we would like to push forward restarting the reactors with the conclusion of the safety screening and understanding of local people. >> reporter: but not everyone was understanding. many are making their voices heard over the safety concerns. many people are rallying in front of the building where nra's office is located. many people are rallying where the office is located. they are yelling and holding signs to show their discontent toward the decision. protesters say the screening of the plant was fast and sloppy and that the evacuation plan for residents is insufficient.
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people leaving the other side are split over the decision. >> translator: i don't want it to be restarted. i'm concerned about the safety of the next generation. >> translator: i agree with the restart, because it is necessary for us. some locals benefit from it. >> reporter: the nra's decision isn't final. the regulator will take a month to collect comments from the public. then they will look for approval from local municipalities. there are still on-site operational checks to be done. the sendai plant faces many challenges in regaining trust of those who are cautious about the safety of the nuclear energy. noriko okada, nhk world. chinese officials made a surprise announcement on wednesday saying they finished work on an oil rig set up in disputed waters in the south
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china sea. the vietnamese are paying particular attention to this development. patchari raksawong in bangkok is following the story. >> vietnam state-run media are reporting this announcement as a top story. relations between the two countries have been worsening since china moved the equipment to the area in may. vietnam television on wednesday aired a program that showed a correspondent on board a maritime police vessel reporting the latest development. >> the waters in question are near the paracel islands, said to be rich in natural resources. china set up the oil rig in may in the disputed waters. since then, clashes between ships from the two countries have erupted one after another. relations have plunged to one of the lowest levels since the vietnamese war of 1979.
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the united states criticized china's move calling it provocative. but on wednesday, china's state-run news agency suddenly reported that the oil rig finished its work one day earlier. an executive of the vietnamese maritime police told nhk that the oil rig is being moved toward the chinese island of hainan. china's maritime safety administration had earlier said the drilling would conclude on august 15th, about a month from now. a spokesperson for the chinese foreign ministry said on wednesday that companies concerned will map out work plans for the next step based on analysis and assessment of the geological data that was collected. vietnamese foreign ministry spokesperson responded to questions in a letter from nhk by condemning china. he said vietnam demands that china never again bring drilling equipment to waters belonging to vietnam.
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papua new guinea's economy has been growing steadily thanks to its wealth of mineral resources, but the economy isn't the only thing that's captured the world's attention. the country is making headlines for a darker reason. violence against women. nhk world explains. >> there was a stranger there. he started fighting and hitting me. >> reporter: one woman lost her lips. another was assaulted by her husband in front of her children. these abused women in papua new guinea are in a video created by an aid group called child fund australia. members say 70% of women in papua new guinea have been the victims of sexual assault and other forms of violence. child fund has an office in
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papua new guinea's capital. the group has been supporting needy children, and last year it began a program to help abused women. >> what we are trying to do is giving support to the survivors of violence. second is what you said, is raising awareness, is generating an environment within the communities so that the violence reduces. >> reporter: this shelter receives support from child fund. it's a place for women who run away from abusive men. when we visited last month, five women and their children were taking shelter. each woman is given her own room and stays at the facility from
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four to six weeks. during that time, they prepare to return to society and start the process of healing. >> well, we take care of them. we feed them. they are provided counseling by the staff that is here, very capable staff that is here. they're provided with medical care. we have some vocational training that we try to get them involved in. >> reporter: jenny is from a mountainous area. she arrived at the facility at the end of may with her two children. she says she could no longer put up with her common-law husband's violent behavior. >> translator: my husband beat me and cut my fingers with a knife. he also slashed my head. >> reporter: economic growth has given people more spending power.
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some use their money on drugs and alcohol. experts say that fuels more abuse against women. mesa is taking legal action so she can live separately from her partner. but she says she isn't sure she can raise two children on her own. >> translator: i need to live apart from my partner, but i need money to raise my kids. i'm a housewife without a job. >> reporter: papua new guinea's leaders have started to take action. the government has passed a law to protect abused women. community leaders say all of society needs to pull together to keep women safe. takeo nakajima, nhk world, papua new guinea. >> that wraps up our bulletin.
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i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok. wednesday marks three months since the ferry disaster in south korea. lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties are trying to reach agreement on a special bill to support bereaved families, but the families are demanding more. relatives and friends offered prayers at a place near the site of the accident. the "sewol" sank on april 16th, leaving 293 people dead and 11 missing. a search for the missing continues, but no problem has been reported since a body was discovered on june 24th. relatives and their supporters insist that a proposed investigative team be kbigiven right to look into the disaster and indict those responsible under the proposed legislation. they put together a petition that 3.5 million people have signed and they're putting pressure on parliament. president park geun-hye's
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support rate has declined sharply, and he's failed to appoint a new prime minister. the current prime minister had offered to step down to take responsibility. park has not been able to keep a hold on the situation in the face of public frustration. officials in japan and south korea will boost cooperation on dealing with north korea's missile and nuclear weapons programs. japanese foreign ministry representative junichi ihara met with his counterpart to share concerns over the north's recent ballistic mistime launches. japan recently lifted some of its sanctions on the north after pyongyang started to investigate the fate of japanese nationals abducted in the 1970s and '80s. wang says seoul supports japan's efforts, but he hopes it will not negatively affect bilateral and trilateral coordination with the united states on the north's nuclear and missile issues. the two officials agreed that pyongyang should take specific
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steps toward denuclearization as a prerequisite. the talks have been on hold for more than five years. chinese leaders hope they're seeing the results of their efforts to stimulate the economy. china's gross domestic product has picked up for the first time in three quarters. officials with the national bureau of statistics said the gdp expanded 7.5% over the same period last year. it edged up from 7.4% in the first quarter. that suggests the economy has stopped slowing down. >> translator: the chinese economy is generally stable, and structural reforms are on track. >> government officials have been investing in urban infrastructure and other public works projects. they've eased credit for some financial institutions to get
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more money flowing through the economy. and exporters have benefitted from the recovery in industrialized countries. and now for insight on china's economic growth, we spoke with koichira komura from a think tank affiliated with the japan external trade organization. he started by telling us what's behind the latest figures. >> the gdp growth rate of the second term is higher than that of the first two quarters. but this does not mean economic recovery, because a growth rate of the same quarter of 2013 was lowest in the year. therefore, the economy -- a major challenge is that the chinese manufacturing sector has to be a highly valuable industry. since costs are rapidly increasing. so the industrial development is reaching limit.
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government also needs to implement further reforms for raising productivity and research and development expenditure over chinese manufacturers. there is a possibility that the structure reform will depress the economy. so the government would use fiscal actions together in order to keep the growth rate. but as is well known, the government cannot keep using the existing measures due to the increasing problem of the shadow banking system. so there is a contradiction in the expansion of the domestic demand. so foreign demand of the second half of the year can be a key factor for this year's growth. since the lehman brother's crash, weak demand has been dragging down the growth rate. in fact, the export of the first half of the year decreased by 1.2% in comparison with the first half of the previous year. so the government needs to depend on investment again and again.
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so it's going to be harder to achieve the target growth rate, which is 7.5%, in some cases such as sluggish exports to the united states and european countries. the growing tension in iraq has pushed up crude oil prices and drivers in japan are paying more for gasoline. gas prices at the pump rose for the 12th straight week. the latest data from the oil information center shows that the average price of regular gas per liter was 169.9 yen, or about $1.67 as of monday. that's up two-tenths of a yen from the previous week. but officials predict the trend will be reversed and retail prices are likely to fall next week. they say crude oil prices have recently started to show a declining trend and some wholesalers are beginning to lower their prices.
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japanese prime minister abe says he'll bolster health care programs for people affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. abe inspected public housing for those hit by the disaster in miyagi prefecture. he's been making monthly visits to the affected area. people who moved into the homes this year said many of them live alone. they asked for programs to help them engage in the community. >> translator: i realize the need to step up programs to care for the physical and mental health of people here. >> abe asked officials to draw up a plan to increase the number of advisers and counselors. he also inspected a business that grows rice and vegetables. he was briefed on how workers removed salt from the soil to restore cultivation after the tsunami. he tried his hand at packing some of the produce. crews at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant are
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carrying out decommissioning work that will take decades. managers at the plant are stepping up efforts to improve their employees' long-term working environment, but they're facing many obstacles. nhk world's yoichiro tateiwa went for an inside look. >> reporter: cleaning up fukushima daiichi is a big job. workers are removing radioactive contamination and decommissioning damaged reactors at the same time. the area around the crippled buildings still has high levels of radiation. people here work in shifts and take breaks every few hours. this is a resting place for workers. so whenever workers finish their work or they wait for another work, they spend the time here. like a relaxing -- maybe have a cup of tea, water, or reading
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magazines. as many as 6,000 workers come to the site every day. their schedules are designed to minimize radiation exposure. tepco officials explain most of the people here are employees of subcontracting companies. it means the utility is not directly responsible for their safety. but tepco officials have started taking measures to improve conditions at the plant. >> translator: we consider improving the working environment to be a top priority. >> reporter: they are constructing a new facility for workers. the building will have a dining space where hot meals will be served. it will also have devices people can use to check their internal radiation exposure. it's not just spaces for breaks
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that are getting improvements. an example is this vehicle repair factory. nothing like it existed here before it was built. that worried many workers. the vehicles here can't leave because they may be contaminated. so if one broke down or needed repairs, there was no way to fix it. now that problem has been solved. >> translator: ensuring worker safety is essential for safe and speedy decommissioning. >> reporter: but experts say more needs to be done to ensure the safety of workers. >> translator: at fukushima daiichi the task of checking workers' health is handled by the companies that hire them. but what we need is a centralized system for checking the health of all workers. >> reporter: workers say the japanese government needs to
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establish a system for making sure the workers are healthy. there are other issues to consider. when workers finish a shift, they are required to take off their protective gear. their clothing and equipment is treated as contaminated waste. tepco is now constructing an incineration facility to deal with it, but the manager overseeing the project says he's not sure when it will be ready. >> translator: all of us have to stop working right when our shifts end to minimize radiation exposure. it's not like a normal construction site. >> reporter: he says under these conditions, it's hard to stay on schedule. tepco has a lot riding on the safety of the plant's workers. their health and well being is
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critical to the success of the decommissioning project. yoichiro tateiwa, nhk world, fukushima daiichi. and next, here's the three-day outlook on the world's weather.
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and that's all for now on this edition of "newsline." i'm raja pradhan in tokyo.
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we'll be back at the top of the hour. thanks for joining us on nhk world.
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kyoto, the ancient capital, is crisscrossed by many streets. one of which we explea


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